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And Even Stronger (Than The Walls Of Jericho)

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out in the field

we shall reap a better day


You wish coconut cakes could take the crown in this contest.

Coconut cakes or sour fizzy drinks.

Coconut cakes or sour fizzy drinks or unfortunate boys falling in unfortunate love with someone as unfortunate as you.

You wish coconut cakes could take the crown in this contest. There's always been something off about the texture, something fundamentally wrong you can't quite put your finger on, but texture's got nothing on your fucking job, so coconut cakes lose.

You’ve been working at the firm for a few years now. Long enough in sensible human being terms. Noone double takes at your pink hair and thin matching eyebrows, asks you if you’ve got contact lenses on or tries to hold conversations with you any longer. And yet. And yet, you suppose, there will always be an overwhelming urge to call Ino, even though Ino's dead. To whine about how mind-numbingly boring work is. Sometimes you forget it’s been five long years, and your contact list was never a lengthy thing in the first place, so you don’t call anyone. You’ve learnt how to deal.

You hate your fucking job in silence.

You wake up early on weekdays and you hate it. You shower with your lemon-honey-avocado blend body wash and you hate it. You type up the hefty folders Anna-Maria dumps on your desk and you hate it; try your very best not to dissolve into your slate cubicle walls. There’s a picture of your littlest sister on the left side, low quality and grainy as hell. She’s got a huge spoon in her hand and Nutella smeared all over her pretty mouth, standing right under the kitchen window. She looks heartbreakingly beautiful with all that morning light wrapping her up, so precious you wish you could save her from everything un-precious to come.

You’d taken the picture when you’d gone home for Thanksgiving last year, right after you’d screamed and raged at your mother, making a gold star effort to not let tears go.

I’m never stepping foot into this goddamn city again, you’d said.

Never, you’d said. You’re always dictating my every move and I’m fed up.

The turkey had needed more seasoning, and you’d told her so. You’d looked at the beauty spot sitting regally above her upper lip and you’d confessed, silently, defeated, Adding a little more pepper wouldn’t have killed any of us; Papa’s gone now, or have you forgotten. Also. I’m tired of loving you, Mum. I’m sorry.

No-one talks to you at work except to give you orders, or more folders, and you like it that way. You don’t think you have it in you to tolerate another human being when you’re so angry all the time. Or exhausted all the time, you’re not sure. Maybe, possibly. You haven’t taken a day off work in five years so that could be it.

Today’s an okay day because it’s a Friday. You’ll go home and probably not see another human being until Monday morning, probably not talk to one too if you’re not going to the supermarket on Sunday. But you’ve got Patricia the Cat to keep you company, and Spielberg the Goldfish to gawk at you when he’s hungry, which is always. You have a Caesar salad for lunch. When Carl calls you to his office to praise you on the great work you’ve been doing so far, you nod and say thank you at the right places. He tells you he wants to promote you and you keep nodding like some dysfunctional bubble head until he says: You with me, Sakura?

“Yeah.” You don’t look at his eyes too long. You generally don’t look people in the eyes too long because it makes you uncomfortable. That’s why all your colleagues call you a Psycho when they think you’re safely out of the vicinity, “Yeah. I’m with you.”

“What do you think about the offer?”

“It’s a good one,” you mumble, “declining would be stupid.”

“Indeed,” he says, and smiles. “We’ll talk details on Monday.”

When you get back to your stall you sit down and finish off your Caesar salad, even though it doesn’t taste appetizing anymore. It’s not the salad’s fault, you think as you wipe your desk down, what chance did it have against Time?

By eight pm you're weary enough on the outside as you are on the inside, so you shut down your computer and pack your bag. The last thing you want is to take the damn subway, breathe in the repugnant smell of body odor and unfulfilled dreams, stand stiffly as strangers violate your personal space; but you head there anyways. You bid the janitor a good night on your way out.

Today is an okay day because it’s Friday, and because at this time you get to see the fog makes its lazy circumvention round the hills, slow. Seductive. Friday is a fine day because you catch a seat in your compartment, and because it’s the first time you set eyes on someone as terrifyingly beautiful as him.

As breathtakingly, heartrendingly beautiful as this man. And you are sure you will never behold a vision like this again in your life, so you take the time to appreciate. His is a classic face, you think, as he takes a seat next you, luscious lashes, dark hair, pretty bow lips and symmetrical proportions. But you like the aura he's got surrounding him. It's heady, and you take too much pleasure in just being next to it. You like that there's something sexy about his orbit, the way it makes its lucky occupants feel electric.

Ino’s in your head once more, laughing at you, telling you to just go for it, just go for it, stop overthinking everything, Forehead.

So, “It must be hard,” you tell him, and angle your head in his general direction, “being that good looking.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said,” you say, “it must be hard. Being that good looking.”

He appraises your face for a long, long time, and you don't laugh even though you feel like, since he's not laughing, and he says, simply, “Yes.”

“Oh.” You turn away. His intensity is giving you jitters now, so you resume the game on your phone. You won’t beat your high score until you get home later, in the comfort of your bathtub, divinely stretched between your scented candles.

“I’m Sakura.”

“And I didn’t ask,” he scoffs, but you can tell from his pretty eyes that he’s laughing at you. You will fall into an unfortunate type of love six months from now, and he will leave you two and a half years later for a tenure ship in Oxford University, all the way in England. He won’t tell you he loves you or that he’ll come back.

He won’t tell you he’s sorry.

“I’m Sakura anyways. That Naruto guy you’re texting calls you Sasuke. So I guess that’s your name then.”

“I guess,” he says, and the lightness from his eyes stretches to his mouth, loosening it up. You catch a flash of snaggleteeth when he smiles at you.